Empty or overflowing: what do email inboxes say about millennials and marketing?


In an age where so many of us (myself included) actively ignore the number-heavy blob of red attached to our email app icon, how much do we really notice companies trying to reach out to us?


Studies have shown that an influx of emails in the modern day have left people feeling overwhelmed and result in increased levels of stress. Surprisingly, that applies to everyone —whether you are the organised email emptier, or the “well it was already beyond help” email hoarder.

Gone are the days when work and personal were separate in our phones, as more frequently we find our favourite clothing stores emailing us with their latest trends alongside our work emails and emails from our dad with pictures of the family dog attached.

With so much stimuli, it takes a lot out of our day to sort through and prioritise our email folders and studies found that the average adult spends one hour a day in their email inbox. But what can companies do to engage their customers enough to make their emails a priority?

It is certainly true that there are more noticeable marketing platforms than the humble email, as Krept and Konan have shown us with the release of their marketing song to promote the opening of “Crepes and Cones”, their new restaurant. But when it comes to informing customers about the (less exciting than crepes and ice cream) new data protection laws, and offering them the choice to opt in to brand marketing, it is email that inevitably plays a large role in reaching each customer directly.

Email can be annoyingThirty-four percent of respondents say they are most annoyed by brand emails when they send products or services that are irrelevant to them. Millennials are a technologically savvy generation, so we know that things like analytics and data tracking are happening to us when we surf online.” – Aug 29, 2017 in a study by Forbes.

When it comes to emails and millennials, it could be all about tapping into what interests them the most. But, because there are hundreds of emails flooding to our inboxes every day, if a brand (even one that we love and go back to regularly of our own accord) emails us ten times a week with a similar format … we can become desensitised.

It is hardly true that those of us ignoring the emails want to miss out on exclusive deals, it is more likely that in an age of Instagram, Facebook and Spotify ads (to name a few), we have become accustomed to a world of advertising that analyses us and prescribes to us what we want, without us having to lift a finger.

Brand transparency is key when it comes to advertising, and being clear about how our data is analysed. But how much does the millennial actually fall back on those advertisements that pop up as we scroll through our feeds daily?

Now with the new laws we will find that people have to actively click for what they want, and so the power is given back to the customer. This is great! But it means more work has to be done on what actually stimulates and reaches the finger tips of those millennial consumers, or more specifically: how to captivate them enough to get them to tick a box and return to a brand regularly.

It is perhaps about understanding that if branding is successful enough, that customer will not only see their email, but prioritise it enough to click it and interact, not ignore it (and leave it as another digit in their notifications) or delete it to clear away their email clutter.




Click to access FWC-Youve-got-mail-research-report.pdf